Trendsetters: Dinner A’Fare
It’s Thursday night, the week has been packed – and it isn’t over yet. The kids have had soccer games or dance lessons or homework every night. Work has been a bear. You haven’t even had a chance to go to the grocery store. It’s now halfway through the new year – the one where you resolved to eat better, as in locally sourced, home-cooked meals. But who has the time?
Dinner A’Fare, that’s who. The Suwanee-based company, owned by husband-and-wife team Stephanie and Ken Wright, has brought the meal delivery business home with Georgia-sourced meats and produce, handmade sauces and meal-kit sizes for families, couples or singles.
The seed for Dinner A’Fare was planted in the Wright’s first entrepreneurial venture – a pottery studio.
“I kept having customers, when I was ringing them up at the end of the day, they would have these arguments with their husbands, ‘Well what do you want for dinner?’ ‘I don’t know. I’m just hungry. What do you want for dinner?’ ‘I don’t care. I’ll make it. Just tell me,’” Stephanie says. “It’s almost like the decision of what to make was harder than actually making it. So that’s where Dinner A’Fare was born.”
Now, meal delivery may seem commonplace, but Dinner A’Fare has been setting trends in the business since 2004, when it started out as a meal assembly business. Customers would go in, spend some time putting meals together from prepped ingredients, and leave with a dozen meals for the family. During the recession, Dinner A’Fare began delivering those meals to customers instead.
It’s come a long way since then. In 2016, Dinner A’Fare delivered about 300,000 meals, Stephanie says – which makes the commitment to fresh and locally grown a challenge.
Dinner A’Fare uses all-natural, kosher, organic halal chickens from Wayne Farms in North Georgia. Cod and dry-aged Angus beef come from Halperns’, a family-owned Georgia company. And much of the produce comes from Lewis Taylor Farms in Tifton.
The focus on fresh is a trend that’s caught up with their business – farm-to-table is the culinary phrase du jour. As a business model, it has also brought them customers for life – and who are now causing their business to evolve.
“We just launched a new product called a solo,” she says. “Our customers who ordered from us back in 2004-2005 for their families are now empty nesters. Their kids are off to college, and the husband or wife travels during the week.”
Solos, like all Dinner A’Fare meals, are fresh with no preservatives.
“We haven’t even advertised it yet, and we’ve already sold over 1,000 solos,” she says, “and 100 percent of people who have ordered have reordered.”
Dinner A’Fare will continue to look to its customers for business direction, Stephanie says. “The one thing I would definitely say that I’ve learned as a business owner is that evolving is absolutely imperative. You have to adapt to the environment around you.”